August 1, 2021

‘A piano lioness: Martha Argerich, 80 years old | music

At eighty years old, Martha Argerich remains an incomparable creator, a performer distinguished by a special charisma and an elegant and precise technique.

She is also considered a grumpy and unpredictable singer. Over the years, her energetic performances and distinctively long, once dark, now gray feline earned her the nickname “the lioness” of the piano.

From Buenos Aires to Europe

Argerich was born on June 5, 1941 in Buenos Aires. His maternal grandparents were Jews who had fled to Argentina to escape the anti-Semitic pogroms of Tsarist Russia in the early 20th century.

I started playing the piano when I was three years old. For her mother, Juanita, it immediately turned out that the girl was a genius. Argerich was seven years old when he gave his first public concert. From that moment on, the life of the family began to revolve around the life of an incredibly talented daughter.

In 1954, when Argerich was thirteen years old, his mother was able to speak with the Argentine dictator Juan Perón. Soon, she and her husband got jobs at the Argentine Embassy in Austria, the family obtained diplomatic status, and Martha was able to study in Vienna.

Soon, Argerich began studying with the famous pianist Friedrich Golda, who found his best student “nervous, weak-willed and spoiled”, criticized his perverted lifestyle and questioned his possible professional future for the young woman.

Argerich did not get up before noon, became a voracious smoker and gave birth to her first child at the age of twenty; However, his talent was undeniable and he won one by one.

In 1957 he received first prize at the famous Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy, and in 1965 he won the legendary Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland. As in his prime when he was 7 years old, Argerich played Piano Concerto no. 1 by Beethoven. The public turned rebellious, jurors wiped tears from their faces, and journalists lined up for interviews. He became a star before he turned 25.

Martha Argerich was attacked by the press and fans after winning the first prize at the Chopin competition in Warsaw, Poland, in 1965.

Daniel Barenboim, Argentine-born conductor, pianist and childhood friend of Argerich, described the talented special talent in Washington Post: “From the beginning, she wasn’t… interested only in dexterity and speed. She mastered that too, of course, but her imagination allowed her to create a unique quantity and quality of sounds on the piano. “

Cancellation in a short time

In the next five and a half decades of his career, Argerich faced many private setbacks, but almost no professional setbacks. He played brilliantly and faithfully as he perfected his incomparable style.

He also seems to have a special connection with the authors whose works he regularly performed: Friedrich Chopin, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Sergey Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Peter Tchaikovsky and, of course, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig. van Beethoven. He is known for saying things like “Schumann loves me” or “Prokofiev never fails me.”

However, Argerich became known for canceling shows on short notice. The first time it happened when I was seventeen years old. He cited an injury to his finger as the cause and deliberately cut his finger to legitimize the story. Later, to avoid cancellation, he simply didn’t sign the acting contract until the night of the concert. Promoters and fans accepted such conditions to be able to experience “La Martha” live on stage.

Transitory loves, friendships for life.

As much has been written about Argerich’s private life as about his musical career. She gave birth to three daughters to three men, all of them musicians. In addition, he had many relationships throughout his life, especially with famous conductors and fellow pianists, although his romantic interests also included violinists and violinists.

In Argerich’s 2011 autobiography, French journalist Olivier Bellamy, one of the few with an intimate knowledge of the pianist, experienced her “messy lifestyle,” but also her warm, almost motherly way of dealing with people. This rare talent provided Argerich with close lifelong friendships, such as friendships with Barenboim.

The support of his friends helped Argerich get through tough times, including a cancer diagnosis in the 1990s. Pianist Stephen Kovacevic, who briefly married Argerich in the 1970s, interrupted his world tour and rushed to travel. to Los Angeles, where Argerich underwent surgery. The next day, Barenboim and another childhood friend, director Zubin Mehta, were also standing in the Argerich hospital room with a bouquet of red roses.

Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich holding hands while seated at the piano

Argentine piano duo Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich have been friends for life

Another declaration of love is the 2012 documentary. Argerich bloody daughter Where Stefani Argerich, the youngest of the pianist’s three daughters, paints a cute and funny portrait of her legendary mother.

Argerich, who lives in Geneva, Switzerland, celebrates his 80th birthday with his friends, children and grandchildren. Shortly after, he will travel to Hamburg, where he will host his own festival at the end of June.

The opening ceremony will see Argerich perform with Barenboim; However, some of the 12 concerts may need to be rescheduled due to the pandemic.

However, she has no plans to stop making music – according to Argerich herself, music is something she can do better than anyone.

This article has been translated from German.